Another day, another disappointing loss for the Washington Capitals. At least this one was different. The Caps outplayed the Maple Leafs for several portions of Tuesday night’s game and didn’t fade down the stretch.
Still, zero points is zero points, and there was plenty to be depressed about as well. A miscue on a simple play behind the net basically gift-wrapped the first Leafs goal. Michal Neuvirth allowed a goal on a shot that looked eminently stoppable, making it unclear if either Caps goalie is really dependable right now. Washington still hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of their 2013 games.
It doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Pittsburgh coming up on Thursday night (though at least the Penguins haven’t played great at home). Does anyone have any answers? Let’s go “Around the Beltway” to find out:
- One theory: It’s the Capitals’ unwavering support for Alex Ovechkin that has undermined team chemistry. Would it make a difference if Brooks Laich, Tory Brouwer or someone else was sporting the ‘C’? (Bleacher Report)
- Adam Oates is “running out of cliches” with regards to the way the team is playing. The consensus among the players seems to be that the Caps are playing good hockey but just being outdone by one or two mistakes a game. Now if only those mistakes weren’t huge ones… (The Washington Post – Capitals Insider)
- More from Oates saying the team is “going in the right direction.” We presume he doesn’t mean the way the Caps have sunk to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. (The Washington Times)
- In case you thought the Leafs game was all tragedy and no comedy, the fans in attendance got a Nicklas Backstrom garden gnome. Sadly, it wasn’t scary enough to deter James van Riemsdyk. (DC Sports Bog)
- Speaking of JVR, there is visual evidence of how poorly defended he was while scoring his second goal. As in, not at all. (The Peerless Prognosticator)
- Eric Fehr thinks the problem is that the Caps are old. (On Frozen Blog)
Are they though? Let’s take a moment out of our bullet points to examine this: Of the forwards who play regularly, only Matt Hendricks, Mike Ribeiro, Joel Ward and Jason Chimera are over 30. Ward is the team’s leading goal scorer, and I don’t even want to think about where Washington would be offensively without Ribeiro.
On the blueline, it’s just John Erskine who is on the wrong side of 30 (Tom Poti and Roman Hamrlik don’t count since they play only when others are out), and his suspension has only shown how much he’s missed. Other than him, Mike Green is the old man… at age 27. So the calendar doesn’t necessarily agree with Fehr, but it’s an interesting take nonetheless.